Metal Mining Technical Guidance for Environmental Effects Monitoring
13. Report on Historical Information
This chapter is intended to provide guidance to mines that have collected “historical” information, i.e., information on biological monitoring studies conducted prior to becoming subject to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER). See subsection 14(b) in Schedule 5 of the MMER for the provisions related to historical information and Chapter 1 for additional information (sections 18.104.22.168, 1.4.2 and 1.4.5).
13.2 Recommendations for the Facility’s Review of Historical Information
In order to determine the relevance of historical biological monitoring studies, a review of historical information or data collected for another regulatory agency should be undertaken by the facility. The AQUAMIN Working Group (1994) provided guidance to evaluate the relevance of historical studies and one of their main points was that the methods used in the historical monitoring studies should be validated protocols in the peer-reviewed scientific literature or at least be scientifically defensible. Chapter 12 provides updated guidance on good scientific practices and sound science. In addition, in order to determine the relevance of the historical study to the metal mining environmental effects monitoring program, the mine should refer to the appropriate chapters within this guidance document (e.g., study design, fish population survey, fish tissue, benthic invertebrate community survey, data analysis).
13.3 Recommendations for the Historical Biological Monitoring Report
Along with details on how the historical monitoring results were used to determine if the effluent was causing an effect on fish populations, fish tissue or the benthic invertebrate community, the report should consider the following information:
- study design information, site characterization, description of sampling areas and stations;
- potentially confounding or influencing factors to be considered;
- biological community descriptors;
- field and laboratory methods used;
- supporting environmental variables measured;
- data assessment and interpretation;
- quality assurance and quality control procedures;
- changes in mine operating conditions subsequent to the historical studies (e.g., loadings of deleterious substances), location of structures potentially affecting the aquatic environment (e.g., locations of dams, bridges, discharge points) or any other event that has had the potential to modify the effects of the effluent on fish, fish tissue or benthic invertebrates. Examples of such events are: change in ore processed, change in ore processing protocols or treatment of effluent, change in hydrological factors, presence of new confounding factors; and,
- a summary of biological monitoring data from the ecoregion found in the primary literature, government reports, and reports from other mines or industries as additional supporting information.
For additional information on the points listed above, refer to the appropriate chapters within this guidance document.
AQUAMIN – Assessment of the Aquatic Effects of Mining in Canada. 1994. Criteria to Evaluate Information for AQUAMIN. Working Document. Prepared for the AQUAMIN Steering Group by AQUAMIN Working Group 1.
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